“Song of Ourselves”

Coming off our final unit on Romantic poetry, specifically a deep dive into Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, we wrote a final send-off poem together, inspired by Whitman’s send-off in section 52 of “Song of Myself.”

Here is the text version of our “Song of Ourselves.”  And here is our video:

Celebrity GOST Commentary!

Yes, in parts of the world that value wit, compassion, and literary intelligence, my AP Lit teaching colleague Ms. Hunter is most definitely a celebrity. And I have been lucky enough to stumble on some bootleg videos of her walking her classes through her favorite moments in the second half of God of Small Things.

In all seriousness, Ms. Hunter’s insights are really eye-opening for me, and I really like how she always grounds them in a close reading of specific passages. I invite you to pull out your copy of the novel, gather your favorite passages and your own insights, and put them alongside hers in conversation. After watching her, if you have questions or responses, please put them in the comments below and I’ll make sure she sees them and has a chance to respond.

If she just sparks a pathway for you, though, use it as inspiration for an original post.

So first, enjoy Ms. Hunter’s analysis of a variety of moments in Chs. 9-18:

Side note: Did you have some video background envy? Who’s in that photo over there on the shelf? Has she really read all those books? I’ll bet she claims she didn’t even know what was behind her. Yeah, whatever …. I can’t even get my thumbnail image to look right (see below).

Anyway …. After finishing the novel, enjoy Ms. Hunter’s take on the momentous final chapters:

And if you haven’t yet gotten to the end of God of Small Things, and you are looking for some perspective on the early chapters, I’ve put together a compilation of Bernie’s Quick Takes — excerpted out of my messages of the days from the week before Spring Break.

And hey, no one is stopping you from doing your own video or audio take on the novel — or anything else. Just sayin’

Blogging God of Small Things …

Since we are all getting back into the groove, I thought I would re-articulate the blogging expectations during our reading of God of Small Things. I am imagining our unit spilling over a bit into next week, so the deadlines might bend a bit as the week progresses.

The blogging assignment is to complete at least TWO of your own blog posts and at least THREE substantial comments on other classmates’ posts. See “Blogging Responsibilities” for general guidance to the assignment. Since we reading God of Small Things this week, though, here are some specific recommendations:

  • Posts: At least one of your posts needs to reflect a close reading of God of Small Things (most likely, quoting — and citing page #’s — for multiple passages). The second blog post should probably be an evaluation and/or application of the theory of Orientialism (see the separate resources on Orientalism that will be part of a separate assignment this week) — but it could be another close reading of the novel, if you are inspired.
  • Comments: The main idea here is quality over quantity. I’d rather see ONE lengthy engagement with another classmates’ ideas than 3-4 quick comments that just affirm what is already being said, although quick affirmations are great too.
  • Extra Credit/Makeup: If you are inspired to add more than two posts and are extra-active in the comments, you will be rewarded. The week after Spring Break, besides the start of the 4th Quarter and the rest of the year, is also the time our administration has given us to shore up any incomplete 3rd Quarter assignments. So one of my first thought will be to find a way to go back and give at least partial points back on missed assignments.

Important: The blog is our space in which we will try to recreate a version of class discussion that both allows us to share our ideas, listen to the ideas of others, and advance all of our knowledge. We can certainly be passionate and have fun with it, but it should be approached with seriousness and a sense of community.

Discussing God of Small Things …

To get us started, how about taking a close look at a passage that intrigues you — or one that confuses you — or one that made you bow down and admit you are not worthy of Roy’s literary skillz?

Remember, all grammar, sentence structure, and format rules apply here, but as far as the content of your post, feel free to mix in literary analysis with personal reflection or connections with the larger world.

Music Poetry!

Here is the master mix for all three of Heidkamp’s periods:

That’s a lot of musical poetry! Let the defenses begin!

If you are into period solidarity, you can access the period-specific playlists here:

Period 1
Period 2
Period 8

First Days of School Mix

And speaking of music and mixes and soundtracks, I put together my own First Days of School Mix — new music that puts everything in perspective and provides some needed boosts of inspiration. Any new songs I should add? Anyone have their own back-to-school soundtrack?

Music Poetry, Thanks to the Class of 2019 …

I don’t know about you, but I like to have a soundtrack to pretty much everything I do. And in that spirit, a class should have its own soundtrack.

But a soundtrack is personal — or at least should reflect the community that listens to it. So our class soundtrack is going to come from you — in the form of a Music Poetry assignment we will get to later in the first semester.

In the meantime, last year’s AP Lit classes have created their own soundtrack that we can borrow until we get up to speed. Enjoy!


Welcome to the blog for our AP Lit class. It is the space in which we will continue conversations from class and start new ones. We’ll be discussing and debating literary conundrums and so much more. We might even see a little poetry.

So, what’s a blog? And how will we be using it class? For information on blogging and how to join and post to our blog, see “All About Blogging.”

We’re looking forward to a great year.

Make sure you check your e-mail for your invitation to join the blog. Also – and this is very important – the first step you should take after you accept the invitation is to edit your user profile so that you control how your identity and your communication preferences.  Click on the icon in the upper right corner of the browser and edit your profile

You can fill out as much of it as you want, but the only requirement is — under “Identity” — make sure your “Display name” is your first name and last initial only — so we provide some anonymity while still allowing your classmates and teacher to be able to identity who you are. For example, change “Bernie Heidkamp” to “Bernie H.”

The Old Blog is Dead! Long Live the Old Blog!

For many years, we used the Blogger platform for the AP Lit blog. Since it is owned by Google, it integrates pretty seamlessly with your Google accounts — which made it easy to use, in some respects — but it is a very limited and bug-ridden platform. So this year, we have decided to construct a new class blog from scratch using the most more powerful and stable WordPress platform.

If you are interested, though, in seeing what past AP Lit students have been thinking and writing about, feel free to wander over to the old blog.

old blog